Witchy Gypsy Momma's Elderberry Syrup
I’ve been making and selling elderberry syrup for years now. We try to take it on a semi-regular basis. I know plenty of families that swear by taking it on a daily basis, but I’m no where near that organized so semi-regular is probably more accurate. Unless we’re sick. Then the dedication is almost Biblical.
I decided I needed to share my recipe. Don’t worry. I’ll still have the kits for sale for those who don’t want to gather up all the ingredients or just find it easier to have a grab and go option. For everyone else, prepare to be amazed by simplicity.
First you’ll need a good sized pan on the stove. I think mine is 2 1/2 quarts. All you really have to do is just dump in the ingredients. As we measure them out, let’s learn about them.
I should probably insert a disclaimer here explaining that I am not a doctor nor am I endorsed by the FDA or any other fun government acronyms. I encourage you to do your own research before following this or any other recipe. What we put in our bodies is important, and we all have unique reactions to the things we consume. Herbs have been used for centuries to heal and harm so please, be aware of what you are using and source quality, organic ingredients. I have provided some links in the recipe below to help you start on your search.
Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. (http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-elderberry.html)
Most research on astragalus has focused on its immunostimulatory activity and its seemingly remarkable ability to restore the activity of a suppressed immune system. Clinical trials as well as pharmacological data provide evidence for its usefulness in the prevention of the common cold and as an adjunct to cancer therapies. (http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-astragalus.html)
The clove bud contains an unusual mix of compounds found in no other plant, giving the herb its unique medicinal properties. Cloves contain – among other compounds – gallotannins, triterpenes, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Oil derived from Cloves contains additional compounds including b-caryophyllene, eugenol, and eugenol acetate. Cloves can help the esophagus produce more phlegm and act as an expectorant, making coughs less severe and more productive. There is some evidence that certain compounds in clove act as antihistamines, keeping sinus passageways clear and open. (http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-cloves.html#notes-side-effects)
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers cinnamon to have a warming effect on the body, which not only remains consistent with the enkindling properties assigned to it by Ayurveda, but also supports why we often found it to be such a satisfying staple of our winter breaks from school when we were kids. According to Chinese tradition, cinnamon relieves the uncomfortable chilliness born from being exposed to the wind. Even Western medical institutions are exploring the medicinal benefits of cinnamon for health, including how it appears to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and other positive effects. It is also being studied in relation to its possible use for treatment of type 2 diabetes. (https://theherbalacademy.com/cinnamon-for-health-more-than-just-a-holiday-spice/)
Ginger has been well researched and many of its traditional uses confirmed. It is a warming remedy, ideal for boosting the circulation, lowering high blood pressure and keeping the blood thin in higher doses. Ginger is anti-viral and makes a warming cold and flu remedy. (http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-ginger-root.html)
Rosehips are so loaded with nutrients that they can be considered a super food. They contain the Vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K and minerals including calcium, silica, iron and phosphorous. Rosehips are particularly high in bioflavenoid rich antioxidants including rutin that help strengthen our heart and blood vessels, and prevent degeneration of tissue. They contain carotenes including lycopene that have been linked with cancer prevention. Natural pectin found in rosehips is beneficial for gut health. Perhaps the most common use of rosehips throughout history has been for prevention and treatment of colds and flu. Wild varieties have the highest concentration of Vitamin C, with some estimates reporting 30-50 times the Vitamin C of oranges. During WWII oranges could not be imported into Britain and Scandanavia so about 500 tons of rose hips were collected and made into “National Rose Hips Syrup” that were distributed as a nutritional aid by the Ministry of Health. (http://wildfoodsandmedicines.com/rosehips/)
Star anise is rich in antioxidants and vitamin A and C, which help fight free radicals that are responsible for early ageing and diabetes.The oil produced from star anise contains thymol, terpineol and anethole, which is used for treating cough and flu.Anise also helps improve digestion, alleviate cramps and reduce nausea.Consuming star anise tea after meals helps treat digestive ailments such as bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation. (https://www.indiatoday.in/lifestyle/wellness/story/5-benefits-of-star-anise-or-chakra-phool-apart-from-adding-flavours-to-the-dishes-310564-2016-02-25)
Or you can just dump in one of my kits. I actually like to keep these on hand because we always seem to run out of syrup just about the time I’m too sick to be trusted to measure things.
There. Isn’t that pretty?
Then just add in the water. I use a quart sized Mason jar to store my syrup so I use that same jar to measure my water. Less dishes are always a beautiful thing.
Bring your brew to a steady boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer away for half an hour or so. Stir it occasionally. Talk to it. Fill it with good intentions. The goal is to reduce your brew by half. Don’t worry about being too exact. Sometimes I reduce more. Sometimes I reduce less. Perfection doesn’t matter as much as the love that you’re stirring in.
Now the fun part. You have to strain the the herbs out of the liquid… hopefully without spilling it all over your counter. Elderberry syrup stains. Ask me how I know.
Give it a good press with your spoon to get out as much of the juice as you can.
Oops. I reduced mine a teensy bit too much. No worries. Just top the jar off with honey. We usually look for local, raw honey. Our favorite was in Tennessee. But in a pinch, any raw honey will do.
Or…pour the whole shebang into the honey jar to get every bit of honey goodness when the jar is empty. Oh my. Yes.
Witchy Gypsy Momma’s
- 1 cup dried elderberries
- 1/4 cup dried astragalus root
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1 tablespoon dried rosehips
- 1 whole star anise
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups raw honey (give or take)
Combine all ingredients except the honey in a pan on the stove.
Bring to a steady boil.
Lower heat to simmer for about 30 minutes or until mixture has reduces by half.
Strain the liquid into your quart sized storage jar.
Add two cups of honey (more or less to top off the jar). Stir or shake to combine.
Refrigerate for up to three months.